Arsenal tell City: Nasri's yours for £22m up front
Published 23:02 09/08/11 By David Maddock
Samir Nasri will get his move to Manchester City after Arsenal finally put a price on his head.
The Gunners have told City manager Roberto Mancini he can have his man for £22million, and conceded they have zero chance of persuading the France international to sign a new contract.
Talks between the clubs are progressing at a swift rate - the only real snag holding up the deal is the manner in which the payment will be made.
City are thought to have offered in the region of £15m for a player who now has less than a year remaining on his current contract and could leave on a free at the end of the coming season.
They have also indicated they are prepared to meet Arsenal's valuation by paying another £7m in performance-related add-ons, but the Gunners are adamant they want a straight-cash payment up-front - because of the need to sign a replacement.
Arsenal know £22m is a trifling matter for the super-rich Eastlands club and expect an agreement to be reached within days as they look ahead to life without one of their most exciting players.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has maintained a hard-line stance over the winger, insisting he would not sell even if that meant losing him for nothing next summer.
But relations between player and club have deteriorated in recent days, with Nasri's conviction he must leave hardening after tense exchanges between the two parties.
Wenger said a month ago that he was prepared to write off the £20m-plus the club could squeeze from City, in what was a clear attempt to put pressure on his midfielder.
But that stance brought Nasri no closer to signing a new contract, and now Arsenal have accepted they must cash in.
The 24-year-old has angered Gunners bosses by leaving the UK to play for his country in a friendly against Chile on Wednesday, despite missing a club friendly in Portugal last weekend through injury.
Arsenal have offered nasri an improved deal worth almost £90,000 a week, but he knows he can double those wages by moving to City and that, ultimately, has forced Wenger's hand.
The Gunners' manager will hold out for the transfer fee to be paid up-front, to ensure he has the financial muscle to make a late splash in the transfer market after being criticised all summer for his failure to bring in new faces.
The London club completed the capture this week of 17-year-old Southampton forward Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a deal that could rise to £15million, but there is disquiet among even the Arsenal players at the lack of signings.
Some are demoralised by the still-impending departure of Cesc Fabregas - Barcelona are edging slowly towards the Gunners'£40million asking price, making a deal more likely.
Wenger admitted only weeks ago that Arsenal wouldn't be viewed as a 'big club' if they let two of their biggest players leave in one summer, so is now preparing to spend big to remove that impression and ease the frustrations of the club's fans and players.
Nasri could even be a City player before the start of the new season, - Mancini confirmed last weekend that he was still keen to bring his original summer transfer target to the club for the big kick-off.